WASHINGTON - Daniel Dove, 26, formerly of Clintwood, Va., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones to 18 months in prison for his role as a high-ranking administrator of a peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet piracy group, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich announced today. In addition, Dove was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and fined $20,000. A jury found Dove guilty of conspiracy and felony copyright infringement on June 26, 2008.
At trial, evidence was presented that proved Dove was an administrator for EliteTorrents.org, an Internet piracy site that, until May 25, 2005, was a source of infringing copyrighted works, specifically pre-release movies. Elite Torrents used BitTorrent P2P technology to distribute pirated works to thousands of members around the world. Evidence proved Dove was an administrator of a small but crucial group of Elite Torrents members known as "Uploaders," who were responsible for supplying pirated content to the group. Evidence presented at trial proved that Dove recruited members who had very high-speed Internet connections, usually at least 50 times faster than a typical high-speed residential Internet connection, to become Uploaders. The evidence also showed that Dove operated a high-speed server, which he used to distribute pirated content to the Uploaders.
Dove’s conviction is the eighth resulting from Operation D-Elite, a federal crackdown against the illegal distribution of copyrighted movies, software, games and music over P2P networks employing the BitTorrent file distribution technology.
Operation D-Elite targeted leading members of a technologically sophisticated P2P network known as Elite Torrents. Prosecutors presented the jury evidence that, at its height, the Elite Torrents group attracted more than 125,000 members and facilitated the illegal distribution of approximately 700 movies, which were downloaded more than 1.1 million times. The evidence also established that massive amounts of high-value software, video games and music were made available to members of the Elite Torrents group. The wide variety of content selection included illegal copies of copyrighted works before they were available in retail stores or movie theaters.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Tyler G. Newby of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay V. Prabhu for the Eastern District of Virginia, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia. The investigation was conducted by the FBI field offices in San Diego and Richmond, Va., with significant assistance from the CyberCrime Fraud Unit, Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Motion Picture Association of America provided assistance to the D-Elite investigation.